When we (Kristal and I) left the house in Monroe, WI on a Monday morning it was -14 degrees. We were lucky. There was no wind. As always, I had an arm to hold on to as the ground underfoot was slick. We took the only vehicle that would start that morning. I am not surprised the Jetta would not start as It had spent its whole life in the south. This cold weather was new to it. There was not much traffic on the road even though the roads were clear.
We arrived at Chicago Union Train Station at about noon. The train southward was due to depart at 1:45pm. It is delayed; it is delayed; it is delayed. Kristal went back to Monroe rather than travel after dark. About 5:45 we boarded the train. I began phoning my kin and friends that I was under way. WRONG. At 6:05pm the announcement came over the loud-speaker. “This train is not going anywhere tonight. We have red caps to help you get off the train.” So, off we came rather quickly as it felt even colder. The train on the same route from the south that was supposed to arrive at 7:40pm arrived at midnight.
There was a special lounge for us older folks and children to hunker down for the night. Some whose trip had been interrupted were sent to hotels. As mine has not even started, no such luck. I had planed well. As I am cold a lot I had brought a blanket and a pillow. Also, I was seriously layered. 1) After the unmentionables, 2)two layers of Long Johns, (3) one layer of fleece workout pants and shirt, (4) two pair of socks (one short-one long and (5) an outer layer including pants and sweater; (6) covered with a hat scarf and long coat with a lining. (7)Add to that two pairs of gloves. (Bathroom was a challenge).
We seemed to gather in bunches of 2,3,or 4. We watched each others stuff for bathroom breaks and trips to McDonald’s and such. And, of course, standing in line to change our tickets.
Tuesday, the train still did not leave the station. Those that arrived were VERY, VERY late. One got stuck in a seven-foot snow drift and remained there over night. On this train were two groups of folks from in and around Ft. Wayne. They were Amish. I visited for some time with a student from people Republic of China. There was one fellow from an Indian reservation who played the flute. Long about 7 or 8 it was time to find a chair along a wall and prepare for the night. Not too comfortable but, hey, it is warm and dry..
Wednesday arrived. We are still in Union Station. We have become well acquainted by now. The indian fellow is showing his genuine rabbit’s foot to the young black girls who are having NOTHING to do with that. We are now family. Most of the day I have visiting with an interesting lady who had an east Indian name. She is a Moslem. She was also agoing on the Texas Eagle.
At last. All Aboard. This time the train left the station. Sometimes it went rather slow. There must have been ice/snow on the tracks. We are scheduled to arrive at Little Rock Union Station at 3:10am. We arrived at 5:10am. The station, by City ordinance, would stay open for an hour and a half after the train arrived. My friend, Marylou is called out early to drive the school bus. Most of the schools were closed because of ice. But not her’s. So she could not come pick me up. My backup plan, friend Janet, lives about an hour’s drive north of LIttle Rock. She prefered not to drive in the dark on icy roads. So she waited until about 11 to begin the drive to pick me up. By noon I was an icicle. On the drive back we stopped for a restroom and a hamburger.
One of the first things to do was get out of my clothes. From Monday early morning until Thursday late afternoon in MUCH too long. I was beginning to smell myself.
Friday was a rest day. Saturday, Janet drove me back to Athens. I was wonderful to sleep in my own bed even if it is an air mattress. I call it my “Sleep Number”. Sunday, Janet and I went to church and then she left immediately to drive back to Searcy. She would have stayed longer but she wanted to avoid the Monday traffic around Memphis.
I said I wanted to travel… More Later Grand Maverick